Following on from the announcement yesterday by A.S.O., Flanders Classics and RCS Sport, that they intend to reduce the team sizes in the various races they organise, the manager of Etixx-Quick Step – Patrick Lefevere – has spoken out against the proposal.
The three race organisers released a statement outlining significant changes for their races next season which will see team sizes reduce from 9 riders to 8 on Grand Tours and from 8 to 7 on other races.
Between the three comapnies, they are responsible for organising numerous big races including the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana, Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, La Fleche Wallonne and Il Lombardia.
The aim of the change is two-fold – to improve the safety of riders due to a reduced peloton and also to make it more difficult for particular teams to dominate races which they feel will result in more exciting races.
“I am categorically against it. No one was consulted, teams or riders’ unions,” Lefevere told Het Niewsblad.
“They should start with safer streets, rather than using old cart roads. And it should not be like in the Tour of Switzerland with a finish line fifty metres after a sharp turn.”
“Why should we take on 30 riders per team in 2018? Then you can continue with five less riders per team. Then there are one hundred additional riders on the street. Plus twenty five other support staff because they are no longer necessary.”